Thunder in the Valley was a little different this year.
Instead of the standard drag race, the Alberni Valley Drag Racing Association (AVDRA) organized a charity cruise.
On August 6, 180 cars cruised through town to raise funds for two causes.
It was a huge turnout. But it wasn’t only drivers who showed up. Spectators also came out in big numbers.
Deb Haggerty from AVDRA told Alberni Valley News that “people lined the streets.”
Folks paid $30 per ticket to be a part of the cruise through town. People could also raise money to donate if they wanted.
The money raised supported the Tseshaht First Nation’s Residential School Memorial project, and the expansion of the West Coast General Hospital‘s emergency department.
Tseshaht Chief Councillor Wahmeesh Ken Watts was super pleased with the donation.
Tseshaht First Nation is getting ready to search the old Alberni Indian Residential School (AIRS) for lost children. Watts and his council are fundraising to build a permanent memorial for residential school survivors and children who never made it home.
“For me, it shows Port Alberni has got a big heart,” he told Alberni Valley News. “When our community needs to come together, we do. All these things we have to do together as a community, now we’re supported.”
And the support goes both ways. Tseshaht First Nation wants to support AVDRA as much as they have supported Tseshaht, so they’re helping AVDRA find a permanent home for the drag races.